Nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award as Vocal Group of the year in 2013, the Sweet Lowdown are three very accomplished musicians; Shanti Bremner on banjo, Amanda Blied on guitar and Miriam Sonstenes on fiddle. While this is the first of their CDs to come my way it seems to be their third album overall.
Lead vocal are traded amongst all three, though Amanda Blied takes the lion’s share. There are four instrumentals on the album, my favourite being Shanti Bremner’s Lucknow, inspired by a trip to India for a wedding and it is an amazing evocation of India from 3 instruments normally associated with folk/bluegrass.
While there are two covers of traditional songs (Sail away Ladies and a high-energy Reuben’s Train) the rest are written by the band and touch on love, the environment, friendship and memory as well as ‘a lullaby for hard times’, the lovely Hushabye.
The album is very well made and packaged – something not to be taken for granted with independent CDs – and really enjoyable. Enjoyable enough so that I look forward to seeing the band live and looking out their earlier music